…by Markus Zusak.
Ed, a nineteen year old cab driver, narrates the story of his life after he inadvertently stops a bank robbery and attains a short lived celebrity status in his town. His life is pretty low key – a few friends to hang out and play cards with, a not-so-admirable job, a smelly dog for company, a non-existent love life (he’s hopelessly in love with one of his best friends, and she doesn’t reciprocate) – a very average life overall, with no purpose or determination to improve anything. This is until he accidentally prevents a bank robbery from happening…after which, his life takes an unexpected turn in that he starts receiving playing cards (Aces) delivered to him with series of instructions. The first card he receives has four addresses listed on it and Ed starts visiting those places one after the other. Somehow, it becomes clear to him that these people / families need help and he does what he needs to to bring about a positive change in their lives. Likewise, he receives three more cards, one after the other, with clues pointing to whomever he has to go help. The story goes on to explore how and what Ed does to do the job he’s chosen to accomplish.
Who sends those cards to Ed. Why that person chose Ed. What all Ed does to bring about the needed change in those people’s lives. How Ed reacts when the last card points to his four best friends. – All this and more is engrossing novel with a message.
The novel is gripping, to say the least. The story takes the reader through life of an ordinary person, Ed, and shows how a small gesture can make a big difference. I couldn’t put the book down once I started reading it – I couldn’t wait to know more, I wanted to see what happens next and after that. There were parts where I wanted to give a big hug to Ed for what he does; there were parts where I couldn’t help but smile; and then there were parts when I was dissatisfied because I felt they were not strong enough – this especially applies to the way things ended, it left me dissatisfied. All in all though, the positives definitely outdid the negatives and so, it was worth every minute I spent reading it.
Note though that I might be partial with my review here. After I read The Book Thief by this author (reviewed by Psych Babbler), I was so totally in love with his writing that I couldn’t wait to read his other works. Even before I got a grasp of this book’s plot, I knew I would like the novel for the writing, if not the storyline itself. And that is what happened – although I enjoyed the story for the most part, it’s the writing style that I appreciated more. Zusak, sir, you’ve got yourself a die hard fan in me.
Overall, I would highly recommend it – it’s a light and pleasant read for sure.
My rating: 4*.
*for the rating scale, click here.